Re: RARA-AVIS: Richard Stark

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 26 Feb 2001

Neil wrote:

"As for the most recent, I don't know why, but it didn't impress me as much as Comeback and Backflash (and those impressed the living daylights out of me. Oh, man, talk about inspiring). Just didn't feel as fresh. Still steps above almost eveything else in the field, though."

I enjoyed Comeback, but it just felt like nostalgia to me. Parker seemed to be a character from another era, dropped into the '90s. In Backflash he seemed to actually exist in this world. I felt the same about Flashfire. I was also fascinated by the capers in the latter two.

Westlake has said the Parker books are about "work" and Parker is nothing if not the consummate professional. I find it interesting that these newer books make more acknowledgement of Claire and his life outside of work. Parker no longer seems quite so able to separate the two worlds. The Parker in the earlier books would not have hesitated to walk away from Claire. The new Parker has taken risks the old one would not have, in order to protect or hold onto her (some on this list have complained about just that). Which, I guess, just means the character is alive, still evolving, which is why I still like him so -- it's the only series I buy in hardback instead of waiting for the paperback edition.


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